Happy Labour Day!
Every year, Labour Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. Many of us have forgotten the origin of this statutory holiday that marks the end of the Summer holidays and the return to school. On the occasion of the upcoming Labour Day, which will be held on September 7, 2015, let’s take a moment to trace the history of this celebration.
In 1869, a Toronto union sent a petition to employers in order to request the reduction of working hours to 58 per week. The owners of print shops immediately rejected this request calling it foolish, absurd and unreasonable. This refusal led to a demonstration in 1872 in which 2,000 workers took part. In an act of solidarity, other supporters marched with the group. By the time the march reached Queen's Park, the crowd had grown to 10,000. At that time, union action was considered a criminal offense. Under the law which dated back to 1792, police arrested and imprisoned 24 members of the strike committee.
The demonstrations in favour of the “Nine-Hour Movement" and the printers' strike led to an annual celebration. On July 23 of 1894, Sir John Thompson’s government designated Labour Day as a National holiday.
Today, Labour Day is a holiday that celebrates the achievements of the labour movement. Thanks to actions taken by the Toronto printers’ workers, it is a holiday that recognizes the principle of work and life balance for all Canadians and their families.
The Joint Learning Program wishes you a great Labour Day!